Do You Need Social Media?

We authors need to be seen “out there,” i.e., on the internet, particularly on social media, or do we? What seemed to be a no-brainer a month or so ago is now, at least to me, appearing to be a bit of a puzzle. Frustrated at the very low and staid response I’m currently getting from my social media postings, I decided to see if there was somewhere to be that would generate more interest. Sadly, every article touted the same list of “usual suspects”:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram (owned by Facebook)
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Goodreads (owned by Amazon)

Frankly, I avoid most of these, so I moved on in my research and came across a couple of interesting articles that seemed to be two sides of a coin but in reality said the same thing: stop wasting time on social media tweeting and posting for hours a day and instead have a presence.

Article 1: Why Authors Should Not Use Social Media – TCK Publishing

This article is from a publisher’s point of view and admittedly is therefore a bit skewed. The publisher’s vested interest is in keeping you writing. Nevertheless, I found the reasoning sound.

The three reasons the author gives are (and my thoughts on each):

  1. Organic reach falling. Facebook puts the squeeze on your group, page, and even timeline posts. As few as one person in 100 fans will see your posts, and many don’t see it then unless they make an effort. At the same time, competition on the site is fierce, so your chances of being seen by all but the most devoted is even less. Other social media is little better.
  2. Spend your time writing. Makes sense, and considering that the average user spends almost 2.5 hours on social media every day, that’s time lost from writing, unless, of course, you draw inspiration from the inanities often posted there (especially on Twitter).
  3. Social Media creates anxiety. We’re in anxious times. Why add to it? Bullying online is common as is getting nasty responses from people who think they can “let it all out” with no regard for common courtesy.

In light of the above, you probably are thinking of closing your social media accounts, and hunkering down in your writer’s space, with your cup of hot coffee, tea, or cocoa, and never emerging until it’s time to query publishers. Don’t, as the author of the next article points out.

Article 2: Don’t quit social media, just quit using it

The answer is simple. Use your social media accounts as signposts to your author site that details your work (no matter if you’re self-published or traditionally published). Create a friendly post that links to your site and pin it to the account. If that link ever changes, be sure to update all your social media accounts. Nothing more frustrating than broken links!

My experience shows, though, that what you post is more important than posting a lot. For example, posting a casual thought with links to my site generates hits, whereas just posting some casual thought does not. Makes perfect sense. So I have to advise this:

  • Log in 2 or 3 times a week and post something relevant to your writing and a link to your site.
  • Also, comment on other posts and reply to their comments to you.

The key, it seems, is to keep it relevant to your writing and not get into side issues.

Additional Uses

Also use your social media for special postings, such as:

  • Cover design reveals
  • Launch dates
  • Public appearances (readings, book signings)
  • Awards

And if you’ve been published, use it to engage a bit with your readers.

A Platform for Authors

During my research, I came across this article:

This Founder Created A Social Media Platform For Authors – Forbes

I’ll save you a bit of hassle and tell you that the platform is called Copper. The site appears to be in the Beta stage still, but you can sign up in advance to be ready to go for when they are.

Final Thoughts

Sharing a blog post or two with you during the month gives me a bit of a break and in a way refreshes me for my writing. Also, I already have the discipline to limit my time on social media, but now the lack of hits back to my site isn’t so frustrating. I just need to do this social media thing right. You’ll need to examine your own writing habits and see if you’re spending too much time on social media posting the wrong things and not enough on the writing. Life has enough interruptions in that process. No need to add more.

By the way, where I spend a bit of time:

  • MeWe — My page (actually a group since it’s free) where I post updates on my writing and interact with other writers.
  • Twitter — My poignant author observations and wisecracks, and some actually useful tips.
  • LinkedIn — I occasionally post articles about writing here as well as other places.
  • Parler — Just an account. Not really posting there.

Hope you found this helpful and have been inspired to start and/or continue writing!

Please check out my WIPs. And thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: I get no compensation for links in this post or on my site to other sites and/or products.


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